June 18th, 2015, U S A Today

Charleston, S. C. awoke this morning to learn of the incomprehensibly horrific mass slaughter of nine participants of a bible study class at historic Mother, Emanuel Church. Those shot, Black–the shooter, White— “The color war” continues…. The next of kin and community are shattered. The confessed executioner, Dylan Roof has been caged, awaiting indictment.

Nature, nurture green in spring,
In summer a cascade of color,
In fall leaves dipped in change,
In winter, clad in snow,
Human nature, paints people
With a hard bristled, bias brush.

Metaphor alone is insufficient,
it is not weighted by reality, by conscience.

Reverend Clemeta Pickney, 41 years of leadership,
Pastor, State Senator, 18 years in the General Assembly
Referred to as the “moral conscience of the assembly.”
His oldest daughter Eliana, wrote,
“I will always remember and love you.”

Her younger sister wrote, “Dear daddy,
I know you went to heaven I love you so much,
your baby girl and grasshopper, Malana.”

He leaves behind, a bereaved family
and community, whose wounds will never
completely heal, and scars will never entirely fade.

Tawanza Sanders, 26 years
Entrepreneurial, he had dreams of owning a business.
He leaves behind his mother, who witnessed
his extradinary courage in stepping between
the killer and his great aunt Susie Jackson
in an effort to save her life, neither life was spared.
“He was my son and he was my hero.”

Susie Jackson, 87 selfless years,
Emanuel Church, Sexton. A devoted mother
and grandmother of three boys.
“She often gave shelter to those in need,”
said her son Walter Jackson. “When I left home
she gave my room to two young people in need,
that’s just the way she was.”

Nature embraces sound,
The voices of all in one simple key,
Our nature, in the key of distortion
Hears disdain and derision.

Nature, signifies inclusion,
Differences fade in nature’s domain
Our nature, with fear of the “other,”
Celebrates the toll of exclusion.

Reverend Sharanda Singleton, 45 abridged years,
High School Speech Pathologist, Track and Field Coach.
Devoted mother of three, her son Chris wrote,
” You were a better mother than I could have asked for,
this has truly broken my heart.”
The finish line distanced for her children and mentees,

Cynthia Hurd 54 years of accomplishment,
Master’s Degree in Library science. Kim Odom, credits Hurd
with, “opening her up, to what service really is;
helping a teenager with studies, choosing books
to improve people’s minds and open hearts.”
A devoted foster mother to books, their words are orphaned.

Ethel Lee Lance, 70 nurturing-filled years,
Church Custodian, Sexton. Mother of four children,
grandmother of seven, great grand mother of four.
Her granddaughter, said, “She was a god-fearing woman,
the heart of our family, she still is.”

Nature’s forest floor,
Reflects the waltz of verities.
Our nature scuffs the ballroom floor,
As we dance around the truth.

Natures, fertile garden
Needs only to be seeded.
The soil we seed in,
Breeds blighted gardens.

Minister Myra Thompson, 59 years of belief,
Beloved wife and devoted mother of two children.
School Teacher, a former student said, “She touched
the lives of hundreds of students in so many ways.”
The Reverend received her license to preach June 17,
the last day of her life.

Reverend Depayne Middleton Doctor, 49 years of giving.
Mother of four daughters. Her friend Jacki Starkes described
a moment three years ago, she was going through an emotionally
painful time. Sitting in church she gazed up at the reverend,
their eyes connected. After the service they met, and hugged,
no words were spoken. “She can see through your pain.”

Reverend Daniel Simmons Senior, 74 life-touching years,
South Carolina Dept. of Corrections. Teacher and Counselor
Deeply admired husband and father of a daughter and son.
He is remembered by family and friends as, “Super” Simmons.
Reverend Young, a mentee, said, “I have never known the day.”

Human nature, gracelessly, carelessly
Choreographs steps of death,
Nine black dancers,
Their final position stilled,
Their music silenced,
All is quiet, but for the unholy roar
Of encore, encore…